LETTERS: Students’ voices matter in shaping future

Editor:

Re: Hijacking of our education system, March 27.

I am a student who participated in the School Strike for Climate. While Tom Fletcher (among others) has understood this event as brainwashed children skipping school, nothing could be further from the truth. The organizers of this event are incredibly dedicated and gifted students who are probably the top of their classes. Their decision to strike is a moral choice.

I cannot speak for all, but I can explain why I chose to participate in this strike. I am currently a student studying business and environment, and after dedicating the last 16 years to learning, I have come to hold an utmost respect for science-based policy making. I see an incredible lack of this in national policy. Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish woman leading these global protests, emphasizes that the goal is to have governments listen to scientists, instead of just corporations.

The IPCC, an independent body of volunteer, world-class scientists, recently released a report upon the request of governments in which they recommend limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is a highly credible source and a report I would encourage all to read. This target, however, will require significantly more robust policy than the federal government currently enforces: global temperatures would increase 5 degrees Celsius by 2100 if all nations acted as our federal government has. This would be a world of climate chaos, and I believe policy reform is required to prevent such a course.

When you say “students are getting a different message: democratic governments don’t matter,” you could not be more wrong, Mr. Fletcher. The problem, you see, is that us young people who will inherit this world of climate chaos are currently too young to run for government or influence it as corporations do, despite climate change being an impending crisis.

Many strikers are too young to even vote. You can trust that you will see young leaders engage fervently with our democratic institutions in the decades to come. But until then, why should we not exercise the right to peaceful assembly guaranteed in Sec. 2 of the Canadian constitution?

Even democratically elected governments hold the highest respect for our fundamental freedoms. The reason for this is embedded in the foundation of our nation: it is not only those currently in power who should have a voice in the future of our world.

Elise Burgert, SFU student

•••

Tom Fletcher criticizes the student protests that occurred all over the world, but the young people have every right. They feel frustrated and helpless as they see us ruining the world they will inherit. They assume that we just do not care.

They cannot believe that we are swayed, by the propaganda of vested interests, to disregard the work of major scientific organizations. The science is not so hard to understand.

They know that if petroleum is necessary for production of necessities, that we should not be wasting it. They know that we have made almost no effort to cut back on using it.

They can spend 10 minutes on the internet to learn that fracked, liquefied natural gas is more harmful than coal. They must think that we are ignorant.

The teachers that Tom derides have done a good job. The students are thinking for themselves.

Bill McConnell, Surrey

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